Friday, August 18, 2017

James Patrick Holding's intentional stupidity on the Gentile-salvation implausibility of Acts 11:18

 In April 2017, I published a blog post wherein I argued that according to the way the church in Acts 11:18 responds to Peter's Gentile Salvation vision, neither they nor Peter formerly believed that Gentiles could be saved...a theory that, despite its consistency with the book of Acts up to this point, contradicts the Gentile-friendly Jesus of the gospels, Mark 1:45, Matthew 4:15.

In short, if Peter ran around with Jesus for three years while Jesus preached salvation to Jew and Gentile alike, how could it possibly be that, some years after Jesus died, here in Acts 10-11, Peter needs a special divine revelation in order to convince him of something that Jesus had already made perfectly clear numerous times before...that Gentiles can be saved too?

Is Acts making Peter to be dumber than he really was?

Or are the gospels making out Jesus to be more Gentile-friendly than he really was?

Some inerrantists have answered that despite the obvious reality of Gentile salvation during Jesus ministry, the apostles simply didn't "get it".

That's quite difficult to believe, given the apologetics claim that the disciples were "mightily transformed" by the resurrected Jesus, since it is the resurrected Jesus who, allegedly, told them to preach salvation to Gentiles (Great Commission, Matthew 28:19-20).

Since it is unlikely that Peter would need a divine vision of the likes of the one described in Acts 10-11 had he in fact previously saw and heard the resurrected Jesus telling him to preach salvation to the Gentiles, there is an obvious theological inconsistency between Acts and the gospels, of such magnitude that a quick face-saving "they just didn't get it" reply will not suffice.

James Patrick Holding, whose intended audience of admirers can be judged on the basis of the level at which he teaches them (i.e., cartoon videos wholly unsuitable to engage biblical issues in a scholarly or comprehensive way, yeah, those are the kind of people that Holding takes money from), has created yet another childish romp in which he attempts to answer the contentions in my above-referenced post.  I now answer him point by point:

First, as usual, Holding supplies no Christian scholars who support his view.  But a legitimate Christian scholar who once publicly supported Holding, a conservative evangelical inerrantist Dr. Craig Blomberg (author of "Historical Reliability of the Gospels" and author of the New American Commentary on Matthew), correctly told me in a 2015 email that interpretations of scripture that cannot be shown to be supported by real scholars, are suspect because the issues involved will have already been researched and published: 

From: "Blomberg, Craig" <>
To: Barry Jones <>
Sent: Wednesday, April 22, 2015 12:18 PM
Subject: RE: questions on 2nd Timothy 2:24-26
 I answered several of these  questions explicity or implicitly in my previous response.  I don’t care to expand on it much  One can never make absolute statements about Scripture never justifying insulting behavior.  The Twelve are to shake the dust off their feet for those who reject them.  But, in general, we do much better to be positive, except to the ultraconservative Christian who needs to be rebuked. Interpretations that no bona fide scholars anywhere support are likely to be suspect because detailed scholarly studies will have canvased them already.

 Can Mr. Holding quote any Christian scholars to support his premise that the church before Acts 10-11 needed the theological teaching found in Peter's claimed vision?  How could they ever veer off the road and starting falsely believe Gentile salvation was a two-stop transaction, if the apostles had been taught by Christ, as the gospels apparently say he did, that Gentile salvation is a one-stop transaction? 

Second, even assuming Holding's interpretation of Acts 11:18 to be correct, he is still faced with the original problem:  Why was Peter and thus his church in need of being educated that Gentile salvation wasn't a two-stop but a one-stop process?  Did Jesus not make clear during his three years with Peter, exactly what Gentiles must do to be saved?

Did not Peter run around with Jesus for three years prior to the time period reflected in Acts 11?  Did not Jesus preach his gospel to Gentiles to the point of causing massive crowds of them to gather around him (Mark 1:45, Matthew 4:15, Luke 5:15, etc)?  Did not Peter and the apostles receive special preaching power in Acts 2 long before Acts 11?

Why then did Peter need a bizarre vision to be informed of what he would have already known from 3 prior years with Jesus, i.e., that Gentile salvation was a one-stop transaction?  Holding's answer is necessarily deficient because it doesn't get rid of this original problem of implausibility.

Third, video at 1:04, Holding creates a false distinction and asserts that the problem was not one of whether Gentiles can be saved at all, but "how" Gentiles can be saved, i.e., they found at at that point that it was a one-stop transaction (faith in Christ), not a two-stop transaction (circumcision + faith in Christ).

Mr. Holding's distinction is perverting the text.  Here is Acts 11:18 in several translations.  The church was NOT marveling that Gentiles could get saved by the same single-step that Jews could, the church was marveling that Gentiles could get saved at all.
 ESV  Acts 11:18 When they heard these things they fell silent. And they glorified God, saying, "Then to the Gentiles also God has granted repentance that leads to life."

KJV  Acts 11:18 When they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life.

NAS  Acts 11:18 And when they heard this, they quieted down, and glorified God, saying, "Well then, God has granted to the Gentiles also the repentance that leads to life."

NAU  Acts 11:18 When they heard this, they quieted down and glorified God, saying, "Well then, God has granted to the Gentiles also the repentance that leads to life."

NET  Acts 11:18 When they heard this, they ceased their objections and praised God, saying, "So then, God has granted the repentance that leads to life even to the Gentiles."

NRS  Acts 11:18 When they heard this, they were silenced. And they praised God, saying, "Then God has given even to the Gentiles the repentance that leads to life."

YLT  Acts 11:18 And they, having heard these things, were silent, and were glorifying God, saying, 'Then, indeed, also to the nations did God give the reformation to life.'

Holding thinks what the church learned here was "Then indeed God hath not required Gentiles to be circumcised, to achieve the repentance that leads to life."

But that's not what the text says.  They are marveling that God has granted Gentiles the repentance that leads to life, period.  The biblical text puts a far more general spin on their marveling.  They are not being taught a nuanced point of doctrine.

Why didn't the church know, before the time period of Acts 11:18, that God hath granted to the Gentiles the repentance that leads to life?

Jesus in the gospels made clear how acceptable it is for Jewish Christians to eat with Gentile Christians,
 10 Then it happened that as Jesus was reclining at the table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and were dining with Jesus and His disciples.
 11 When the Pharisees saw this, they said to His disciples, "Why is your Teacher eating with the tax collectors and sinners?"
 12 But when Jesus heard this, He said, "It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick. (Matt. 9:10-12 NAU)
 Contextual support is strong for the view that Acts is telling the reader the original apostles before Acts 11 did not think Gentiles could get saved:  At the beginning of Acts 11, the apostles and brethren who were circumcised were very angry at Peter after they found out he had done something perfectly Christ-like, and went and engaged in table-fellowship with uncircumcised Gentile Cornelius:
 1 Now the apostles and the brethren who were throughout Judea heard that the Gentiles also had received the word of God.
 2 And when Peter came up to Jerusalem, those who were circumcised took issue with him,
 3 saying, "You went to uncircumcised men and ate with them."   (Acts 11:1-3 NAU)

The extent of their anger toward Peter for this may be inferred from the fact that 11:18 says after they heard Peter, they "quieted down" (i.e., their initially angry reaction to Peter involved loud voices and possibly screaming).  In their eyes Peter didn't do something merely uncommon, he did something contrary to what they thought was fundamental morality.

Contextual support for the view that 11:18 shows the church suddenly discovering Gentiles could get saved at all, is also found in the verses immediately following 11:18.  The author admits that while there were "some" who departed from Peter and "began" to preach to the Gentiles after this point, most of Peter's audience spoke the word thereafter to "no one except Jews alone."
 18 When they heard this, they quieted down and glorified God, saying, "Well then, God has granted to the Gentiles also the repentance that leads to life."
 19 So then those who were scattered because of the persecution that occurred in connection with Stephen made their way to Phoenicia and Cyprus and Antioch, speaking the word to no one except to Jews alone.
 20 But there were some of them, men of Cyprus and Cyrene, who came to Antioch and began speaking to the Greeks also, preaching the Lord Jesus. (Acts 11:18-20 NAU)
 Fourth, Holding in video at 1:04 ff, says the reader can know from the whole issue as portrayed in Acts and Galatians that the church knew Gentiles could be saved and thus the church had a reason to evangelize them, but Holding reveals his scholarly weakness here, as he knows he is responding to an atheist bible critic who does not believe one can properly interpret Acts 11:18 by presuming as true everything written in Acts and Galatians.  Holding, true to form, chooses the low road and concerns himself only with giving an answer that will sound good to inerrantist-ears, and doesn't really care if the answer is found unpersuasive on the merits by atheists and others who deny bible inerrancy.  

What would Holding think of an atheist who cared only that an argument for bible contradiction sounded good to other atheists, but didn't care that Christian inerrantists found it unpersuasive?  Would he allow them to be this absurdly partisan without insulting them for it?

Holding at 1:30 references Peter's infamously bizarre vision in which the unclean animals represented Gentiles, so that when God says "no longer call unclean that which god has cleansed" (Acts 10:15, 11:9), God is telling Peter that because He has cleansed Gentiles, Peter should adopt a new view about them.

Fair enough, but my original problem with the lack of plausibility remains:  IF Peter and the apostles were creating these converts and church by preaching consistently to their audiences that which Jesus previously taught them according to the 4 canonical gospels, then why is ANYBODY within the post-resurrection church adopting the belief that Gentile salvation requires "two stops" (faith + circumcision)?

Fifth, Holding never answers the obvious question of why the story has Peter learning such a truth by divine revelation as opposed to God merely reminding him of what Jesus preached previously.  Acts is not presenting Gentile Salvation here as something the church needs clarification on, it is presenting Gentile Salvation as something the church did not recognize up until that point.

If Jesus came to earth and physically taught you some doctrinal point for three years, what are the odds that within a few years after he left you, you'd adopt a misunderstanding of the view so obtusely that only a separate independent divine revelation would correct you?

Holding at 1:40 ff says it's an even stupider idea to say that some early Christians held to anti-Gentile sentiments.  Then apparently he needs to read Acts, since he apparently never noticed the following passages:

 1 Now the apostles and the brethren who were throughout Judea heard that the Gentiles also had received the word of God.
 2 And when Peter came up to Jerusalem, those who were circumcised took issue with him,
 3 saying, "You went to uncircumcised men and ate with them
." (Acts 11:1-3 NAU)

Jewish Christians who get so angry when one from their group eats with a Gentiles, clearly adopt "anti-Gentile sentiment".

Holding at 1:47 ff, tries to explain the failure of the early post-resurrection church to evangelize Gentiles by saying most of the apostles only spoke Aramaic or Hebrew.

So again, he apparently has never read that part of Acts where God demolishes the language barrier between the Aramaic-speaking apostles and the Gentiles who spoke other languages.  Acts 2, Pentecost.

Ironically, Acts 2 seems to show anti-Gentile sentiment, for while the new languages the apostles learned would allow them to communicate beneficially with Gentile pagans, Acts 2 makes it clear that it was only Jews and their proselytes who were intended to benefit from the busting of this language barrier:
 5 Now there were Jews living in Jerusalem, devout men from every nation under heaven.
 6 And when this sound occurred, the crowd came together, and were bewildered because each one of them was hearing them speak in his own language.
 7 They were amazed and astonished, saying, "Why, are not all these who are speaking Galileans?
 8 "And how is it that we each hear them in our own language to which we were born?
 9 "Parthians and Medes and Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia,
 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the districts of Libya around Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes,
 11 Cretans and Arabs-- we hear them in our own tongues speaking of the mighty deeds of God."
 12 And they all continued in amazement and great perplexity, saying to one another, "What does this mean?"
 13 But others were mocking and saying, "They are full of sweet wine."
 14 But Peter, taking his stand with the eleven, raised his voice and declared to them: "Men of Judea and all you who live in Jerusalem,  (Acts 2:5-14 NAU)
In context, Peter's sermon was not addressed to just anybody and everybody who might happen to be living in was addressed to Jews and their proselytes (Gentiles who had converted to Judaism).

That is, the author of Acts wants the reader to believe that this earliest preaching was Jew-centered, which, again, does not square with their having heard a resurrected Jesus tell them to evangelize Gentiles just a few days prior Matthew 28:19-20.

Holding also doesn't consider that the apostles simply did not want to have a gentile ministry.  He tells the reader they can figure out the problem by reading Galatians, but look what I found in Galatians 2:9
 9 and recognizing the grace that had been given to me, James and Cephas and John, who were reputed to be pillars, gave to me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship, so that we might go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised. (Gal. 2:9 NAU)
Why did the apostles give Paul the right-hand of fellowship?  Because it relieved them of any need to evangelize Gentiles, that's why.  Again, we find strong hints that the view of the earliest post-resurrection apostles was NOT to preach the gospel to just whoever happened to come into their life, but to preach to the Jews only.

Is it just coincidence that apostle James in Acts 21:20 heads a Jersualem church filled with thousands of Jews who, despite their conversion to Christianity, continue to be zealous to do the Law?
 17 After we arrived in Jerusalem, the brethren received us gladly.
 18 And the following day Paul went in with us to James, and all the elders were present.
 19 After he had greeted them, he began to relate one by one the things which God had done among the Gentiles through his ministry.
 20 And when they heard it they began glorifying God; and they said to him, "You see, brother, how many thousands there are among the Jews of those who have believed, and they are all zealous for the Law;
 21 and they have been told about you, that you are teaching all the Jews who are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, telling them not to circumcise their children nor to walk according to the customs.
 22 "What, then, is to be done? They will certainly hear that you have come.
 23 "Therefore do this that we tell you. We have four men who are under a vow;
 24 take them and purify yourself along with them, and pay their expenses so that they may shave their heads; and all will know that there is nothing to the things which they have been told about you, but that you yourself also walk orderly, keeping the Law. (Acts 21:17-24 NAU)
If James had preached the same Gentile-friendly "Christ-is-the-end-of-the-Law" gospel to Jews that Paul preached, how is it that those who join James's church look and sound so much like Judaizers?

Notice how Paul describes Peter in Galatians 2:14, then you tell me whether Peter too became a Judaizer:
14 But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas in the presence of all, "If you, being a Jew, live like the Gentiles and not like the Jews, how is it that you compel the Gentiles to live like Jews?
 15 "We are Jews by nature and not sinners from among the Gentiles; (Gal. 2:14-15 NAU)
And this "right hand of fellowship" alleged in Gal 2:9 was likely nothing more than a superficial agreement given that around a.d. 40-45 there was a severe famine in the land (Acts 11:28), at which point if the original apostles got too loud about about their Judaizer doctrine, they would be turning away a Gentile mission field likely to help increase the church's wealth.

Yes, there was more than likely a financial reason for the apostles being willing for Paul to pervert their legalistic doctrine to make it more acceptable to additional potential tithers in the Gentile lands:
 1 Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I directed the churches of Galatia, so do you also.
 2 On the first day of every week each one of you is to put aside and save, as he may prosper, so that no collections be made when I come.
 3 When I arrive, whomever you may approve, I will send them with letters to carry your gift to Jerusalem; (1 Cor. 16:1-3 NAU)

 29 And in the proportion that any of the disciples had means, each of them determined to send a contribution for the relief of the brethren living in Judea.
 30 And this they did, sending it in charge of Barnabas and Saul to the elders. (Acts 11:29-30 NAU)
So I have no trouble believing that the apostles thought Paul a heretic the whole time, but nevertheless pretended to make him part of the club anyway.  People tend to forget their higher ideals and forgive their enemies when they start needing each other to survive.  If a white supremacist was drowning and there was none to save him except an African-American lifeguard...people tend to be less idealistic when greater liberality will help them survive.  And given the apologists who readily admit to Peter's gullibility, the apostles were human in every way, with no sign that they were free from the tendency to make concessions on doctrine or morals for the sake of the greater good.

It is a great irony that at the end of this simple-minded cartoon video showing no sign of scholarly rigor, Holding accuses my views of being "simple-minded".  While Holding, using insulting language, deceives his followers into thinking my views about Paul v. the Apostles are obvious shams, true scholars of the evangelical inerrantist persuasion admit that such views created a paradigm shift in biblical studies when F.C. Baur began teaching them in the 19th century, which would hardly be the case if such views were "obviously" wrong:
During the Reformation, Luther and Calvin also accepted the traditional view and passed it along unaltered except that they (especially Luther) found a direct analogy between Paul’s opponents in Galatia and those who refused to embrace the gospel of grace in their own day. Calvin, for example, referred to them as “the false apostles, who had deceived the Galatians to advance their own claims, pretending that they had received a commission from the apostles. Their method of infiltration was to convince people that they represented the apostles and delivered a message from them. But they took away from Paul the name and authority of apostle … in attacking Paul they were really attacking the truth of the gospel.” This view remained virtually unchallenged until the nineteenth century when F. C. Baur offered his radical reconstruction of New Testament history. Since then the identity of the anti-Pauline opposition in Galatia has generated considerable debate and spawned numerous theories, the most important of which fall into the following five groupings..
George, T. (2001, c1994). Vol. 30: Galatians (electronic ed.). Logos Library System;The New American Commentary (Page 51). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.
Since the time of F. C. Baur in the early nineteenth century, Galatians has been a battleground for modern historical reconstructions of New Testament history and theology.
George, T. (2001, c1994). Vol. 30: Galatians
According to Mr. Simplistic himself, Mr. Holding, he must think all these biblical scholars are doing battle over matters that are easy for believers in bible inerrancy to resolve.  Gee, is life really the way 3 year old children view it?

Need more?  The whole point of Paul in writing Galatians was because most of that church had apostatized from Paul and taken up the Judaizer gospel (Gal. 1:6).  The Judaizers were so successful that "even Barnabas" agreed with the Judaizer views against Paul (2:13), despite the allegation that it was the Holy Spirit who personally selected Barnabas to assist in Paul's ministry (Acts 13:2).  Why are you so impressed with Paul 2,000 years after the fact, when not only his contemporaries but even many of those who once converted to his gospel, stopped thinking him to be the inerrant truth-robot you think he is?

Need more?  Peter's "fearing the circumcision" (i.e., the "men from James") in Gal. 2:12 doesn't make sense if those men were misrepresenting James's view, since Peter obviously knew James personally, and thus would know whether the legalism of these "men from James" authentically originated with James or their own errors of doctrine.  The only way to make sense of Peter's fear here and his going on to become a Judaizer himself (2:14, "why do you compel the Gentiles to live as Jews?"), is if he knew the "men from James" were correctly representing James' views.  Another way of saying this is that Acts 15:24 is a lie written by a liar trying to make the reader think James was more sympathetic to Paul's Gentile-gospel than he really was.

Need more?   The Revelation author, writing so late in the first century as most scholars agree, surely knew about Paul and thus likely also knew of Paul's having claimed to be equal with the apostles in terms of work done to lay the foundation of the metaphorical Christian city:
 10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me did not prove vain; but I labored even more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with me.
(1 Cor. 15:10 NAU)

 5 For I consider myself not in the least inferior to the most eminent apostles.
(2 Cor. 11:5 NAU)
 Don't you find it just a bit curious, then, that, despite writing so late and knowing this about Paul, the author of Revelation 21:14 uses the number12 more than necessary to specify how Christianity, as the metaphorical City, sits upon 12 foundation stones having the 12 names of the 12 apostles in them?

Possible Objection:  The number 12 here is mere figurative language, so it cannot mathematically exclude Paul, Apostle # 13.
Answer: no, there really were exactly 12 apostles each with a different name, so the fact they can be used to support a metaphorical point doesn't mean the author's choice to refer to "12 apostles" is also figurative. Calling somebody an "asshole" might be an acceptable metaphor for them, but that hardly argues that the person himself is just as figurative. 

Possible Objection:  Paul was Apostle # 12.
Answer: no, Matthias was # 12 before Paul converted, see Acts 1:26

Possible Objection:  The appointment of Matthias as apostle # 12 was against the will of God.
Answer: First, the arguments for this position are incredibly weak.  Second, the circumstances surrounding Matthias' appointment as # 12 rebut this claim.  Here is the full context from Acts 1, with highlighting for those parts that indicate Matthias' appointment was God's will:
 12 Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day's journey away.
 13 When they had entered the city, they went up to the upper room where they were staying; that is, Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon the Zealot, and Judas the son of James.
 14 These all with one mind were continually devoting themselves to prayer, along with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers.
 15 At this time Peter stood up in the midst of the brethren (a gathering of about one hundred and twenty persons was there together), and said,
 16 "Brethren, the Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit foretold by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus.
 17 "For he was counted among us and received his share in this ministry."
 18 (Now this man acquired a field with the price of his wickedness, and falling headlong, he burst open in the middle and all his intestines gushed out.
 19 And it became known to all who were living in Jerusalem; so that in their own language that field was called Hakeldama, that is, Field of Blood.)
 21 "Therefore it is necessary that of the men who have accompanied us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us--
 22 beginning with the baptism of John until the day that He was taken up from us-- one of these must become a witness with us of His resurrection."
 23 So they put forward two men, Joseph called Barsabbas (who was also called Justus), and Matthias.
 24 And they prayed and said, "You, Lord, who know the hearts of all men, show which one of these two You have chosen
 25 to occupy this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside to go to his own place."
 26 And they drew lots for them, and the lot fell to Matthias; and he was added to the eleven apostles. (Acts 1:12-26 NAU)
All of Christianity's main post-resurrection players were present, Peter is apparently speaking with authority from God after they all devoted themselves to prayer, because he credits Judas' fall to fulfillment of an OT verse that without his input doesn't look like a prediction that Judas will fall, Peter thinks it necessary that somebody "must" be a witness # 12, they all set forth two possible candidates, they all pray for God to reveal which one it shall be, then they "cast lots" to determine God's will, which was the way the divine will was determined with approval in the OT (Prov. 16:33).

Apologists who decry Matthias' election so they can escape admitting the Revelation author mathematically excluded Paul, are exhibiting more desperation and less scholarly objectivity.  But who cares?  If Holding can get a bunch of losers to send him money, he would have to have an unusual amount of moral backbone to send it back, saying he can conduct his own ministry on his own dime, wouldn't he?  We don't expect miracles from modern-day apologists, do we?

Therefore, Paul remains Apostle # 13, and hence, the Revelation author's deliberate choice to set the number of Christianity-founding apostles at "12" continues to constitute his knowing and intentional mathematical exclusion of Paul.

Need more?  Peter and the church in Acts 1 clearly do not think "apostle" can be a title for just anybody who has seen the resurrected Jesus and wants to go around preaching it, but they think that title can only go to somebody who learned from the human Jesus for the three years before Jesus died (Acts 1:21).  Paul disagrees and insists that his apostleship finds sufficient grounding in his claim to have seen the resurrected Jesus:
Am I not free? Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord? Are you not my work in the Lord? (1 Cor. 9:1 NAU)
 Need more?   The Revelation author admits the Church in Ephesus was one that had to deal with false apostles in the past:
"To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: The One who holds the seven stars in His right hand, the One who walks among the seven golden lampstands, says this:
 2 'I know your deeds and your toil and perseverance, and that you cannot tolerate evil men, and you put to the test those who call themselves apostles, and they are not, and you found them to be false;
 3 and you have perseverance and have endured for My name's sake, and have not grown weary. (Rev. 2:1-3 NAU)
It just so happens that Paul believed himself to be a legitimate apostle to the church in Ephesus, and it also just so happens that Paul told that church that after he left them, "savage wolves" (i.e., other Christian ministers who disagreed very much with Paul's beliefs) would infiltrate that church and convince them to apostatize from Paul's doctrine:
 29 "I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock;
 30 and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them. (Acts 20:29-30 NAU)
Given the Revelation author's previously established mathematical exclusion of Paul Apostle # 13 from the group he thinks established Christianity in the earth, it really isn't too much of a stretch to say the church in Ephesus did indeed, after Paul left, do what the Galatian churches did, and apostatize from Paul's beliefs, and therefore, it is their disposing of Paul which the Revelation author is talking about when saying that church tested apostles and found them false.

Oh sure, Mr. Holding...your looney toons yapping in effort to answer the Acts 11:18 plausibility problem, has me quaking in my boots.  Not all Christians believe the Problem of Paul can be as easily resolved as your childish antics indicate.  Let God's spiritually alive followers get their act together, before they stupidly insist that spiritually dead atheists should be able to see truths that spiritually alive people themselves cannot even agree on.

What now?  Will you say all Christian scholars who disagree with you about Paul, are thus not true Christians?  Since when did YOU become the criteria for salvation?  But that assumes you care about adopting a crazy belief, and the evidence is clear that you don't.  You've dedicated your life to defending the divine authenticity of the bible, while also not caring whether it is divinely authentic.  You have to be mentally consistent before we can expect you to worry when you get something wrong.

Yeah, cartoon apologetics produced by a disgraced homosexual who surrounds himself with people equally as spiritually immature as himself,  a person whose favorite scholars say he "obviously perverts" their scholarship and the there's somebody who's a real threat to my bible-criticizing peace of mind.


  1. out of curiosity, does mark 7 make the eating of kosher void?

    apologists say :

    ironically, it is James who identifes and confirms the kind of defilement that Jesus is talking about in the Gospels, and it is not a ceremonial / ritual defilement:

    James 3 v 5 Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth! 6 And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell. 7 For every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind: 8 But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.

    Seen in this context Jesus is not abrogating the Mosaic laws forbidding the eating of certain foods because he is not talking about ceremonial / ritual defilement.

    As long as the temple was still standing and the priesthood was active the Christian Jews would feel obligated to keep the laws of clean and unclean to maintain their ceremonial purity. This is understandable.

    1. according to first century Jews , it was not morally wrong to eat pig, but ritually it was? does that make sense?


My reply to R.L. Solberg on the problems of bible "inerrancy"

This is my reply to an article by apologist R.L. Solberg entitled Can the Bible be our Authority and not be Inerrant? Link to original artic...